To return to Limbaugh's amazement that the evil Russians would feel a need to spy on the noble Americans: yeah, that's a tough one. It couldn't possibly have anything to do with the fact that by means of NATO expansion on one side, and permanent (or at least decades-long) occupations on another, the U.S. is intentionally engaged in an encirclement of Russia. An encirclement that happens to involve deployments of large numbers of troops, plus weapons of all kinds.This is of course exceptionally obvious. I've often thought, while looking at the globe on my dresser that so handsomely complements the color I just recently painted my bedroom walls, about how painfully obvious it is. All you have to do is just that: look at a globe, or a map.
But many painfully obvious facts, which anyone can discover by thinking about them for half a second, are not actually obvious. The geographical facts of our empire are not obvious. It is not obvious that wealth funnels upwards, not downwards. It is not obvious that rulers have more power than people living in poverty. It is not obvious that a history, and contemporary reality, of slavery and genocide and empire means that America is not a force for good in the world. It is not obvious that each instance of a crooked corporation, or an overzealously sadistic soldier, or a bad president, is not just a "bad apple" but is in fact the system operating as it is intended to. It is not obvious that one should never make excuses for power.
Of course these facts are not obvious; if they were, more people would understand them!
There is always a concerted effort by those in power to create a culture in which these truths are not, as someone once said about something, self-evident. Conditioning begins, essentially, at birth. The ability that some people (I like to think I am one of these people; please let me know if you disagree with this assessment) have to see past this conditioning is not a mark of superiority, rather it is a mark of luck in intellectual development (whether this "luck" was lucky in any other sense obviously varies from individual to individual; for example, I come by my worldview by virtue of having wonderful parents and happening to have read good books in my teen years, while others have them by virtue of being victimized from childhood).
But this is why it's important to keep saying all these obvious things. John Caruso recently posted about a mind that encountered someone (Chomsky, in this case) saying the obvious right at the moment when he was primed to be responsive to it, and the difference that it made. My own mind, made receptive to obvious facts by the upbringing I just summarized, finally made a definitive leap into reality with the help, primarily, of Jon Schwarz and the 2006 congress (somewhat analogous to the carrot and the stick, respectively). You never know when it might work, for whom.